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This question was prompted by a comment to a question in another discussion on EE.SE here.

From the tour page of this site I read (emphasis mine):

Reverse Engineering Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for researchers and developers who explore the principles of a computer system through analysis of its structure, function, and operation.

From that I infer that this site allows only questions with a certain degree of professionalism and that, consequently, questions by mere enthusiasts or hobbyists are discouraged (assuming the hobbyists doesn't formulate a question showing a sufficient degree of expertise, like what is expected from a professional in the field).

Is my inference right?

In particular, for example, would a question from an hobbyist about reverse engineering the circuit of a cheap, china-made, microcontroller board of unknown brand like those usually found on Amazon or eBay be on-topic here?

  • I think you should read "researchers" in the broadest possible sense. You needn't be associated with some academic institution or work as a professional with "researcher" in your job title to qualify. Curiosity and the willingness to learn and provide a minimum of relevant information should suffice. – 0xC0000022L Jun 5 '18 at 22:33
  • @0xC0000022L Thanks for the reply. If this is the conventional wisdom for this site, may I suggest to revise the help page. IMO, most people reading the passage I quoted won't understand (in that context) that the broadest sense is implied. Adding some further specification (i.e. "hobbyists", "makers" or "serious amateur") could help. – Lorenzo Donati supports Monica Jun 6 '18 at 16:30
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Beginners, enthusiasts and hobbyists are all welcomed in our community. Frankly, some of the most active users in our community enjoy reverse engineering as their hobby and this is not their profession. "Researchers" is a term that have more than one definition. As I sees it, people that are trying to reverse engineer a "cheap, china-made, microcontroller board of unknown brand" are considered researchers, even if they don't have tons of experience and a "Researcher" on their shiny tag title.

Reverse-engineering is a broad subject and so can be the questions in our site, as long as they related to RE and considered good questions. When one asks a good question which demonstrates that this person thoroughly searched for an answer before clicking the "Ask" button, we will do our best to help. There are very talented members in our community with vast amount of knowledge about different subjects regarding to RE.

What considered good questions?

The question should be on topic
source: What topics can I ask about here?

If you have a question about ...

  • software analysis (static or dynamic)
  • disassembly or decompilation
  • hardware analysis and testing
  • tools commonly used for reverse engineering hardware or software
  • deterring reverse engineering efforts

and it is not about ...

  • performance evaluation
  • performance testing software
  • forward engineering (hardware construction, software creation)
  • bug hunting (debugging) during software development

Be specific
source: How do I ask a good question?

If you ask a vague question, you’ll get a vague answer. But if you give us details and context, we can provide a useful answer.

Make it relevant to others
source: How do I ask a good question?

We like to help as many people at a time as we can. Make it clear how your question is relevant to more people than just you, and more of us will be interested in your question and willing to look into it.


Regarding your example:

would a question from an hobbyist about reverse engineering the circuit of a cheap, china-made, microcontroller board of unknown brand like those usually found on Amazon or eBay be on-topic here?

Yes, this question would be on-topic as long it is detailed enough and with specific questions.

Here are similar good-questions that created a space for good answers:

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